Electrifying Pikes Peak 2015
Two heavy cars topped the podium in U.S. hill climb to give battery-power a lot of street cred
ONE segment of the car market where 1960s Ford muscle car genius Bob Tasca’s “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” do not yet apply, is electric vehicles.
Few bikers are interested in the new record speeds of the electric bikes at the recent Isle of Man.
Fewer people even know about the “electric Formula One”, despite each of the eleven races in the season that ended last month being nail-biting affairs around new city tracks on which only talent determined who ended first, as all Formula E drivers race in the same Spark-Renault car.
All this is set to change after two very different electric cars last week placed first and second in a race which American petrolheads regard as the Mecca for real racers (as opposed to Nascar drivers).
This race was the 93rd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, America’s secondoldest annual car race after the Indianapolis 500 oval races.
The fastest Pikes Peak drivers reach speeds of over 240 km/h to steer around 156 hairpins along a steep 20 km course in less than 10 minutes.
This year, below zero temperatures and snow at the summit of the mountain near Colorado Springs saw organisers move the finish line a bit lower midway through the race, which means results still have to be ratified.
But the weighted times will still see the Latvian engineering firm Drive eO’s PP3 the fastest up the hill, with drift car racer and Pikes Peak veteran Rhys Millen clocking 9:07,222.
Millen’s time also sets a new record for electric cars.
The second car in a time of 9:36,496 was driven by Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, in his electric car, the Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept One. To be sure, the times of their battery-laden cars were over a minute off the overall record for Pikes Peak of 8:13.878 — set in 2013 by nine time World Rally Champion driver Sebastian Loeb in the featherweight Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak racer.
But in years to come, Mr Millen and Tajima-san will be able to point to 2015 as the year they went up a mountain very, very fast to give electric cars the street cred they had lacked up to that point.
Professional drift car racer Rhys Millen did a lot for the street cred of electric cars by winning this year’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb in an electric car, beating his long time rival Nobuhiro Tajima, also in an electric car.